|Moves||1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5|
|Named after||Italian: "Quiet Game"|
The Giuoco Piano (Italian for 'Quiet Game'; pronounced [ˈdʒwɔːko ˈpjaːno]) is a chess opening beginning with the moves:
"White aims to develop quickly – but so does Black. White can construct abut in unfavourable conditions a centre which cannot provide a basis for further active play."
The name "Italian Game" is also commonly used; however, that name is sometimes used instead to describe all openings starting 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4, including 3...Nf6 (the Two Knights Defence) and other less common replies.
The Giuoco Piano is assigned codes C50 to C54 in the Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings.
The Giuoco Piano is one of the oldest recorded openings. The Portuguese writer Pedro Damiano played it at the beginning of the 16th century and the Italian Greco played it at the beginning of the 17th century. The Giuoco Piano was popular through the 19th century, but modern refinements in defensive play have led most chess masters towards openings like the Ruy Lopez that offer White greater chances for long-term initiative.
In modern play, grandmasters have shown distinct preference for the slower and more strategic Giuoco Pianissimo (4.d3, or 4.c3 Nf6 5.d3). Anatoly Karpov used the Giuoco Pianissimo against Viktor Korchnoi twice in the 1981 World Championship match, with both games ending in a draw; Garry Kasparov used it against Joël Lautier at Linares 1994, resigning after 29 moves; Vladimir Kramnik chose it against Teimour Radjabov at Linares (2004); Viswanathan Anand used it to defeat Jon Hammer in 2010; Magnus Carlsen used it against Hikaru Nakamura at London 2011, winning in 41 moves and Ian Nepomniachtchi used it against Magnus Carlsen in the 2021 World Championship match, losing in 49 moves.
The main continuations on White's fourth move are:
Other continuations are:
White plays 4.c3 in preparation for the central advance d2–d4. The main reply 4...Nf6 was first analysed by Greco in the 17th century. Alternatives include 4...Qe7, with the intention of holding on to the centre.
5.d4 exd4 6.cxd4
7.Nc3 Nxe4 8.0-0 (diagram)
10.Re1 Ne7 11.Rxe4 d6 12.Bg5 Bxg5 13.Nxg5 h6!
14...Bd7 15.Qe2 Bxb5 16.Qxb5+ Qd7 17.Qxb7
17...0-0 18.Rae1 Rab8 19.Qxa7 Nxd5 20.Qd4 Qf5 21.Nf3 Rb4
If White does not want to gambit material, 7.Bd2 is a good alternative. The game could continue 7...Bxd2+ (Kaufman recommends 7...Nxe4!? 8.Bxb4 Nxb4 9.Bxf7+ Kxf7 10.Qb3+ d5!? [10...Kf8 11.Qxb4+ Qe7 12.Qxe7+ Kxe7 is safer, reaching an equal endgame] 11.Ne5+ Ke6! 12.Qxb4 c5!?) 8.Nbxd2 d5 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Qb3 Nce7 (10...Na5 is an alternative, inviting a repetition of moves after 11.Qa4+ Nc6 [threatening 12...Nb6] 12.Qb3 Na5) 11.0-0 0-0 12.Rfe1 c6. In this position White has more freedom, but thecan be a weakness. 7.Nbd2 is also a viable move for White, although this still only offers approximate equality. It has not been a popular choice among human players, but it seems to be recommended by computer engines. 7.Kf1?! has been largely abandoned.
Black can try to hold ain the centre at e5 with 4...Qe7, a move which first appeared in the Göttingen manuscript around 1500. After 5.d4 (5.0-0 usually transposes) Bb6, White's options include 6.0-0, 6.d5, 6.a4 and 6.Bg5. A typical continuation is 6.0-0 d6 7.a4 a6 8.h3 Nf6 9.Re1 0-0 (Leonhardt–Spielmann, Ostend 1907).
4...Bb6 usually transposes after 5.d4 Qe7.
Other 4th moves for Black are considered inferior.
With 4.d3, White plays the Giuoco Pianissimo (Italian: "Very Quiet Game", a name given by Adolf Anderssen). White aims for a slow buildup, deferring theto d4 until it can be prepared. By avoiding an immediate confrontation in the centre, White prevents the early release of through exchanges and enters a positional maneuvering game. 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.d3 is the Giuoco Pianissimo Deferred. 4.d3 f5 is the not-so-quiet Lucchini Gambit; there can follow 5.Ng5 f4, the Dubois Variation.
If White plays c2–c3, the position can take some characteristics of the Ruy Lopez if the bishop retreats to c2 via b3. This idea has been taken up by some grandmasters, such as Anish Giri, to avoid the drawish Berlin Defence in the Ruy Lopez. White can also play b4 and a4, chasing the Black bishop and staking outon the . Despite its slow, drawish reputation, this variation became more popular after being taken up by John Nunn in the 1980s. The common move orders are 4.c3 Nf6 5.d3 (ECO C54), and transposition from the Bishop's Opening: 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 Nc6 4.Nf3 Bc5 5.c3 or 5.0-0 d6 6.c3.
Codes from the Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings are: